Hamid Karzai has spoken out against the US decision to drop the MOAB bomb on Afghanistan. His interview comes the same day a top Trump official tours South Asia to speak with regional leaders.
Afghanistan's former president said in an interview with the Associated Press (AP) news agency on Monday that the US military's decision to deploy a Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB, was "an immense atrocity against the Afghan people," one day after President Trump's national security adviser was in Kabul to discuss Washington's future military role in the country.
The Pentagon announced last week it had dropped the MOAB, the US military's largest non-nuclear bomb also nicknamed the Mother Of All Bombs, for the first time ever in combat, striking a system of caves and tunnels purportedly used by "Islamic State" (IS) militants in the mountainous eastern part of Afghanistan. Afterward, President Ashraf Ghani said there had been close cooperation with the US military in an effort to avoid civilian casualties.
But Karzai has criticized the move, telling AP that his country "was used very disrespectfully by the US to test its weapons of mass destruction."
He also had a message for US President Donald Trump, who called the strike a "very, very successful mission" last week. "My message to President Trump today is that he has committed an immense atrocity against the Afghan people, against fellow human beings," Karzai said in the interview. "If the American government sees us as human beings, then they have committed a crime against fellow human beings, but if they treat us as less than human beings, well, of course they can do whatever they want."
McMaster on South Asian tour
On Sunday, US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was in Kabul to meet with Ghani and other senior Afghan officials to discuss topics inlcuding bilateral relations, counterterrorism, reforms and development.
"As a result of joint Afghan and international forces efforts, no safe havens will be left for terrorists in Afghanistan," McMaster said. Some 9,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan as part of the remaining international forces, though their mission is now primarily focused on non-combat activities like training and support.
On Monday, McMaster continued his South Asian tour with a visit to neighboring Pakistan, where he met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other officials to push for better relations between Islamabad and India. But the meeting has also left open questions about whether the Trump administration will take a tougher stance on the country, as many Afghan officials want. Islamabad has long been accused by its neighbor of supporting Taliban militants, something Pakistan denies.
"General McMaster expressed appreciation for Pakistan's democratic and economic development, and stressed the need to confront terrorism in all its forms," the US embassy in Islamabad said in a statement following his visit.
blc/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)